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Tactics question: When to disembark infantry?

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I have a question in regards to when best to disembark infantry? So for example, let's say you have to scout out a village up ahead and there's no real cover to hide behind or conceal your approach. Do you rush your Strikers up fast and release your units up close to the village hoping to surprise the enemy? Or do I let them out and slowly walk them forward with the Strikers covering them or slowly advancing with them? I've had this question for a long time, even when using half tracks in WWII scenarios. I never know what's best. Yesterday while playing a mission where you have to scout ahead of the main force, I lost whole squads of men in their Bradley's because I thought it would be faster to keep them inside while scouting the battlefield. So what's the best rule of thumb to follow, if there is one? I know there's not a perfect answer but there must be some rule to follow. I doubt the US Army or Marines just flips a coin and says sorry guys you have to stay inside for this one, we're not sure if we should let you out or not!ūüėĀ Anyway, your advice and help will be much appreciated!

Thank you,

Eric

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There is not really an easy answer to this, as it depends on the individual situation. 

A good rule of thumb is that if you’re expecting contact you should dismount. 

I know it sounds counterintuitive - in the situation you described it’d be best to dismount them and have the vehicles offer support by fire. Theoretically their chances are better on the ground. Your infantry will be smaller targets if they come under fire. They can also  take advantage of small depressions in the terrain that an IFV couldn’t, and can bound toward the objective as well. There are also more eyes and weapons on the ground overall. The vehicle itself is a big, fat target. 

It’s somewhat counterintuitive. It was not an easy thing to have to get used to in a mechanized infantry unit. It boils down to the fact that grunts are cheaper than IFVs. We were taught that the IFVs were essentially a mobile support by fire element. They were a ride to the contact area (from potentially dozens of miles away) and not really a ride within that area. 

The real advantages of the mobility aren’t necessarily in small tactical situations. Instead, it’s in moving long distances (dozens of miles) quickly. In the case of Strykers that’s really, really fast. 

An exception would be, say, one platoon plus its vehicles providing a base of fire while another still mounted platoon moved by covered/concealed route to the flanks. 

You can google ‚Äúbounding overwatch mechanized infantry‚ÄĚ and check out some battle drills. There is definitely no easy answer, but having to dismount guys under fire is usually the¬†wrong one. It‚Äôs not quite flipping a coin but there are a lot of factors to consider.¬†

Good luck! It’s the biggest tactical problem with mounted infantry 

 

 

Edited by Swervin11b

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Simple answer:  Dismount BEFORE you expect to make contact

Basically you want to lead with your infantry and use the armored vehicles for dedicated fire support.  

Bottom line is that you do not want your APC or IFV to get hit with a full load if infantry... both types of units, infantry and APC/IFV have their value and you need to make sure they can support each other.. for example, leading with infantry dismounted allows them to listen and spot better than the vehicle will be able to alone.  Although, if you keep them behind masking terrain, mounted, and wait for an opening to make a dash deep in enemy territory, then that can really pay off big too.  See:  Deep Attack  also Movement Techniques

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Thank you, that makes a lot of sense and I never thought of it that way. I always thought since they were there to ride they'd ride them all the time. But it makes sense that they're used to ride for long distance then dismount for contact and then support the troops. I'll have to do this and maybe loose less dudes!

Thank you,

Eric

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I keep a reserve platoon if possible mounted but already acquired as much ammo as they can carry. Only do this if theyre in total cover other wise the infantry is hiding nearby to run into vehicles for rapid reaction.

Otherwise unless its a very big map - in which case you probably have larger forces and a dedicated scout platoon that should be used to find and fix the enemy, and then you can roll your troops up in their afvs to the closest total cover before they disembark - really otherwise though in all circumstsnces its not worth the flaming deathtrap and loss of a squad even against WW2 weapons let alone SF2 or god forbid BS weapons; dismount immediately.  I always acquire everything my troops can carry because otherwise aot of ammo getd wasted when afvs are lost.  Once you get used to doing it you learn how to equally distribute your ammo across the line to your men and trust me this goes a LONG way against the AI and also more inexperienced human players. And trust me its an utter disaster to be in a firefight and run outta ammo when the enemy now is about at the same ammo level you began your firefight at.

Acquiring and dismounting is also key in every CM game because every side has AT weapons - extra ones - that make a huge difference and make units that are perfect size wise and dont really have much else use very useful AT teams. Whether we.re talking extra US zooks, LAWs, or javelins; Russian RPG 7s and RPG 29s. Suddenly your ops team or XO squad is a perfect extra AT team. Theyre also so plentiful you usually can have an extra entire squad with high AT ability as opposed to average for 2 and 1 with a javelin. Id like to add I really missed LAWs in BS - theyre fantastic dual purpose weapons. Yes theyre not the greatest AT but they serve well enough for anything except MBTs and frankly if youre US using LAWs as your primary method to fight Syrian T72s you really screwed the pooch. T55s dont survive LAWs well IIRC. The LAW seems to shine in that troops can carry a relatively high amount and they work really well as IMO the most similar US weapon to an RPG 7 insomuch as its usefulness as a force multiplier in smaller infantry firefights..

Edited by Sublime

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When the current crop of US fighting vehicles were first designed in the 70s and 80s they came festooned with infantry firing ports. Those firing ports have long since been blanked-off and heavier armor applied. RPG and its equivalent became too ubiquitous to maintain the concept of infantry fighting from within their vehicles. Stryker MEXAS ceramic armor was designed specifically to defeat Russian hmg fire from 50m. That's very impressive but unfortunately you're facing more than just hmgs on the battlefield these days.

A major gripe about BMP-2 is the vehicle looses its commander when the squad exits. Fighting from within BMP is doable (the infantry firing ports work in the game) but its exceptionally dangerous. But exiting its passengers reduces BMP-2 ability to operate as a fire support vehicle. So you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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I saw a 4 part documentary on Tanks that's on Netflix. They looked at the invasion of Checnya. The Russian plan was to roll the tanks into the city with mech infantry and intimidate a capitulation just like before in Prague. The mech infantry composed of conscripts were reluctant to dismount from their BMP's.

The Chechen fighters -mostly older males in the early 30's and 40's who had already served in the army let the armored columns roll into the city.  Hiding in the upper floors of the building where they could shoot their RPGs at the weaker less armored top areas of the tanks as well as hiding in streets and alleyways they destroyed or disabled the leading and trailing vehicles and proceeded to destroy the column and massacre the unfortunate troops.

Needless to say the Russian did a complete rethink of their tactics and the next time around the infantry was dismounted and in close support of the tanks.

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Related, but does anyone know how to use the Dutch light infantry?

The G-Wagons are pretty potent, and dismounted those teams pack a punch.

The typical formation is very experienced, well led and motivated, which is great. In terms of spotting, stealthy approach, and winning firefights they do a great job.

My issue is that even Syrian conscripts with BTRs can be hard to shoot off their position.

I read this manual on Light Infantry and I've figured out "fight at night and in close terrain" but how do I close with those BTRs and BMPs so the Panzerfaust 3s can get to work?

https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/combat-studies-institute/csi-books/Historical-Perspective-Light-Infantry.pdf

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I usually dismount the infantry ASAP. I dismount them out of view if possible, split the squads up and have them spread way out across the map, keeping some good distance between each team. If the map is big and the terrain is open I might keep 100m or so between each team. Then I have them carefully move forward like a skirmish line. I don't know how the real US military does it, but it seems pretty common in Syria today for troops to advance like that (in open terrain at least).

Before long you'll start taking long-range sniper and machine gun fire, and then you can halt to figure out where the fire is coming from and what to do about it. You want to bait the enemy into shooting at you ineffectually at long range, thus exposing their positions without doing much damage. Eventually you will learn which approaches are safe and which ones aren't, and where the heaviest enemy resistance is likely to be. Your infantry should always be probing around like rats, sniffing all over the place for a safe way forward. At least that's what works best for me. Once the enemy is found, you can start concentrating forces together again for an assault.

The vehicles should be kept way back. In the WW2 games I would sometimes have the infantry advance alongside the vehicles together, but that's way too risky in the modern ones (unless you're playing Black Sea and have vehicles with APS). RPGs are just so deadly even out to 500+ meters. I only like to move the vehicles as far forward as they need to be in order for them to see or shoot at something. Otherwise they should be as far back as possible.

On the other hand, I HAVE seen the real-life Syrian Army do mad rushes at the enemy with BMPs packed full of troops, dismounting them at close range for an immediate assault. There are videos of them doing that stuff. I've seen them blow holes in walls, then rush BMPs forward right up to the building, turn around and then disgorge their infantry directly into the hole they made, without even exposing them to the outside at all. They would make sure to do it under very heavy overwatch and tank cover though, with tanks parked right near where the infantry would disembark.

Pulling off maneuvers like that in CM is really hard to do but can lead to hilarious results. Usually I just go the safer route.

Edited by Bozowans

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In general, I agree that you should dismount the infantry before contact. However, there are occasions in which I will make a quick dash with multiple, fully loaded IFVs across an enemy kill zone if moving dismounted infantry across such ground would expose them to too much fire. I would only make such a move if the range is pretty long (several hundred metres), the vehicles are moving parallel to the enemy (rather than towards or away from them) and the range is several hundred metres. The idea is that any RPGs fired at them are likely to miss in the short time in which the vehicles are exposed to enemy fire. There's a raised road that needs to be crossed in the "Al Amarah" scenario for which I have often used this tactic.

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This brings up the topic of 'huge maps'. Huge maps and on-foot infantry don't exactly mix. So you're obliged to use your ICVs as 'battlefield taxis' to get your troops to within striking range, otherwise you'll use up half your game time just walking. The trick is to do it safely.

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9 hours ago, MikeyD said:

When the current crop of US fighting vehicles were first designed in the 70s and 80s they came festooned with infantry firing ports. Those firing ports have long since been blanked-off and heavier armor applied. RPG and its equivalent became too ubiquitous to maintain the concept of infantry fighting from within their vehicles. Stryker MEXAS ceramic armor was designed specifically to defeat Russian hmg fire from 50m. That's very impressive but unfortunately you're facing more than just hmgs on the battlefield these days.

A major gripe about BMP-2 is the vehicle looses its commander when the squad exits. Fighting from within BMP is doable (the infantry firing ports work in the game) but its exceptionally dangerous. But exiting its passengers reduces BMP-2 ability to operate as a fire support vehicle. So you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I realize it’s pretty gamey, we have to do something to overcome the game limitation of the commander. I split my squads then mix the teams back into theBMPs. For example, dismount the squads from BMP 1, 2, and 3. Then I split each squad into teams I load team 1-1 and 2-2 back into BMP 1, team 2-1 and team 3-2 back into BMP 2, and team 3-1 and team 1-2 into BMP 3. That way, the teams won’t recombine in the BMP and you can disembark a team without losing the commander and having to take the time to dismount, split the squad, and remount the command team. 

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Thanks for the info. Wow there's a lot of different ways of doing this but I understand now to get the guys out of the AFV's asap. I think my problem comes with the Big open desert maps in SF2. What order do you use to march your infantry forward? If you use Quick they'll tire out quickly, same with Hunt. Move they'll get creamed if attacked from what I understand. I tried moving guys up using quick, leap frogging them and they got tired pretty fast. I guess I could split them up into smaller teams, use Move and then if they get attacked I wont loose so many but still sucks loosing them that way.

Thanks,

Eric

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7 minutes ago, ebphoto said:

Thanks for the info. Wow there's a lot of different ways of doing this but I understand now to get the guys out of the AFV's asap. I think my problem comes with the Big open desert maps in SF2. What order do you use to march your infantry forward? If you use Quick they'll tire out quickly, same with Hunt. Move they'll get creamed if attacked from what I understand. I tried moving guys up using quick, leap frogging them and they got tired pretty fast. I guess I could split them up into smaller teams, use Move and then if they get attacked I wont loose so many but still sucks loosing them that way.

Thanks,

Eric

My advice would be to do some analysis before you hit the start button. Off the top of my head, a dismounted infantry element will cover about 100m in two minutes at 'Move' and probably in a minute at 'Quick'. So, if you measure the map at the start and then compare it with the time available, it will at least give you an idea of whether you need to move mounted or not and, if so for how long. Once you know that, and in the case where you have to move mounted, then you can start identifying where best to move mounted … etc.

I plug this a lot but no harm in plugging it further as you say that you are new to the game, here is my planning tutorial which explains some of the concepts and factors you can consider.

I'm not saying you should plan every mission to this level of detail but even if you use only a couple of the techniques, I'm sure they will be of help.

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On 12/8/2018 at 12:17 PM, Swervin11b said:

the IFVs were essentially a mobile support by fire element. They were a ride to the contact area (from potentially dozens of miles away) and not really a ride within that area. 

 

1 hour ago, Combatintman said:

if you measure the map at the start and then compare it with the time available, it will at least give you an idea of whether you need to move mounted or not and, if so for how long. Once you know that, and in the case where you have to move mounted, then you can start identifying where best to move mounted … etc.  

Very useful when deciding when to dismount.  +1 to both. 

Edit: :o  What?  I ran out of up votes?  I'll get you both tomorrow.   :)

Edited by MOS:96B2P

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If your dismounts are getting fired on that's when you use your IFVs to put fire on the enemy to at least suppress them. AFVs can stand off at long-ish range while hull down and area fire on hot spots in a village directed by infantry (your) instructions. Heck, you can fire TOW missiles into pesky occupied buildings! In the game you can fire over your attacking infantry's heads, though in real life its problematic due to discarded sabot petals flying everywhere.

I recall a WWII German AAR stating it was difficult to use Tiger tanks as long range infantry over-watch because the jittery infantry would tend to retreat to be in line with the Tigers. So Tigers were obliged to instead fight from more exposed positions along the forward line. You see the same tendency in the game. Players feel 'reassured' advancing their infantry and armor together though its probably safer for both if the armor stayed back beyond weapons range and didn't draw unwanted fire.

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31 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

Players feel 'reassured' advancing their infantry and armor together though its probably safer for both if the armor stayed back beyond weapons range and didn't draw unwanted fire.

+1 to this. IRL, armor ALWAYS drew mortar fire, at least until tactics changed the use of armor in the recent high-mobility battles.. Mortars did very little damage to the armor, but could devastate the infantry around it. Infantry should USUALLY lead the armor, depending on the situation. There is a reason Armor, Artillary, Air are called Supporting Arms! They are are there to support the Infantry in fulfilling it's mission. I drove that point home to a friend in a PBEM in a CMBB scenario The Library. He had placed his Soviet AT teams in buildings along a street he had indentifier as a probable route of attack.. He chose correctly, I did send my Panzers down that street. What he didn't anticipate, was me sending a couple of Infantry squads through the buildings on either side of the approach, taking out all of his AT Teams. Mutual support.

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I have found that, depending on the situation smoke can be quite helpful. This is particularly the case if the enemy is degraded and/or suppressed. You can roll your APC's as close as you dare with the last vehicle command being to emit smoke.  

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7 hours ago, ebphoto said:

Thanks for the info. Wow there's a lot of different ways of doing this but I understand now to get the guys out of the AFV's asap. I think my problem comes with the Big open desert maps in SF2. What order do you use to march your infantry forward? If you use Quick they'll tire out quickly, same with Hunt. Move they'll get creamed if attacked from what I understand. I tried moving guys up using quick, leap frogging them and they got tired pretty fast. I guess I could split them up into smaller teams, use Move and then if they get attacked I wont loose so many but still sucks loosing them that way.

Thanks,

Eric

You can split up different types of movement with waypoints too. (Pardon if you already know this. I played a while without knowing).¬†For example, you can have them ‚Äúmove‚ÄĚ until they‚Äôre within enemy weapons‚Äô range, then ‚Äúhunt,‚ÄĚ then¬†even sprint the last leg if you have to.¬†

Alternatively, if it’s a vast distance  you could also roll them up a ways still mounted and then dismount out of range of AT weapons. That’s the key though, out of AT range. 

+1 to what Mikey D said about moving them in safely. 

 

Edited by Swervin11b

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In general, I've been dismounting  Red IFV's later than Blue ones.

BTRs, Strykers, WW2 US Halftracks and the like are taxis. You keep them out of line of sight, and you debus earlier rather than later. You don't want to fire that MG unless you have to, and then only from hull-down or otherwise advantageous positions.

Bradleys, Warrriors, WW2 German Halftracks and BMPs are inherent parts of the squad - not using them to fight with means neutering a lot of your firepower. Bradley-like mech infantry and Panzergrenadiers don't gain much from fighting mounted, so you should disembark them where it's safe, but the vehicle itself should be involved in the fighting after the infantry make contact. Preferably from both distance and cover.

(In terms of SOP, I've been refusing to unbutton my WW2 German Halftracks, and keeping them at distance. They've been a lot more survivable - they'll pop up when needed to fire, but keep themselves safe when not. The MG platform provides some protection, and distance reduces the effective resolution angle of the incoming fire, so the gun shield does a lot more work).

BMPs are different. The crew members are part of the squad, so there are roles which are shared. 

My general feeling has been that, unlike the others, I want to make contact with the squad mounted, and then dismount, rather than dismount before contact and advance. The tremendous firepower of the BMP is a large part of their protection, so you need both the spotting eyes and the guns on target before the too-small squads make their assault (in general). Area fire into suspected targets and generally making a mess of the advance.

There's an obvious problem with this, which is that BMPs explode a lot. I think this is the correct way to employ them, but they are trumped heavily by Blue forces. This is a far more reliable tactic in isolated cases, Red vs Red or Russia vs Ukraine, rather than anything with Bradleys and Javelins.

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It all makes good sense, just hard to apply when playing. I've been trying different things in a scenario called Forging Steel (I think that's the name). You have to recon 5 or 6 different areas spread around and down a highway. It seems like a pretty big map. I kept getting my Bradley's wasted from different areas of the map or they would become immobilized in the wet terrain.  My last attempt I put a couple of my MBTs up on the hills above in an overwatch hull down position. I still lost a Bradley but since I took my squads out early at least they are still alive! It's going to take a long time to walk them this entire board though. I'll have to just keep messing around until I get the hang of it and try different things.

Eric

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